Mindsets to Motives to Manners

“The king of the Ammonites died, and Hanun his son reigned in his place. And David said, ‘I will deal loyally with Hanun the son of Nahash, as his father dealt loyally with me. So David sent by his servants to console him concerning his father… But the princes of the Ammonites said to Hanun their lord, ‘Do you think, because David has sent comforters to you, that he is honoring your father? Has not David sent his servants to you to search the city and to spy it out and to overthrow it?’ So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away. When it was told David, he sent to meet them, for the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, ‘Remain at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.’

“When the Ammonites saw that they had become a stench to David, [they] sent and hired the Syrians- foot soldiers and… men. When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the host of the mighty men. And the Ammonites came out and drew up in battle array…

“When Joab saw that the battle was set against him both in front and in the rear, he chose some of the best men of Israel and arrayed them against the Syrians.  The rest of his men he put in the charge of Abishai his brother, and he arrayed them against the Ammonites… ‘Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.’ So Joab and the people who were with him drew near to battle against the Syrians, and they fled before him. And when the Ammonites saw that the Syrians fled, they likewise fled before Abishai and entered the city. Then Joab returned from fighting against the Ammonites and came to Jerusalem.” 2 Samuel 10:1-10,12-14

David and his military leaders behaved in stark contrast to their pagan counterparts. They displayed the vivid disparity between God’s people and those who live for other gods. Our perception of others, our values, and our life strategies differ according to whom we perceive as in charge. Self-rule elicits very different results from outlook and days that are surrendered to Christ. One suspects the worst, one expects the best. One demeans, the other shows deference. One wants to ruin, the other strategizes for what is right. One fights for self preservation, the other for God’s honor. One bullies in his own strength, the other leaves all results to God.

Pride breeds a myopic view that can blur our perspective of the broader good. Motives turned inward sully our manners toward others, while generous care for those in our workplace, community, and world informs gracious choices. It is vital we compare ourselves to and align with the Lord, not those around us. His is a high and holy standard, and remaining fixed on Him yields godly thinking and impulse. (Psalm 1:1-3; Proverbs 3:3-7)

Is greed, favoritism, or the smack of superiority coloring my assessment of others? Are my aims set for the good of self, or many?

Lord, purify the deepest part of me to effect godly behavior that reflects You in every way. (Psalm 19:13-14)

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